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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A great explanation of how the web is morphing right now!

A great explanation of how the web is morphing. 263 slides, less than five minutes. Go fast!

A New Sales Model

Traditional sales models have been one way, straight lines, “Qualify, Present, and Close,” funnels, playing fields, etc.

Life has been giving me anecdotal evidence these are not accurate models. If you give enough presentations, you eventually have several where the buyer’s first question is, “How much is this going to cost?”

Here are two answers from the straight line school:

“I would be happy to answer that question, after I learn a little about your situation…” Not good.

“I have to ask my spouse, er manager.” Worse.

How about, “A quarter of a million dollars.” Buyer’s response, “OK. Can I get it in red?”

A few months ago I read that seller-enforced regulations are designed to control the buyer…and that in an internet world, buyers are not interested in being controlled.

Have you ever seen a door in a retail store that said, “Employees Only”? Perhaps you were looking for something that was out of stock on the shelves and that door was to the storage area.

Can you imagine seeing something like that on

A model is a simplified way to define a complex process. What would a new sales model look like?

I started thinking it is a circle as some sales presentations circle as a buyer develops their knowledge.

Then I realized the salesperson has a flat out question-answering model. That’s scary, because that means it is the quality of your answers that keeps the sale developing. But when was that any different?

We just used old models to deemphasize that.

How would you prepare for that model?

I see four areas of preparation, and any order will be selected by the buyer’s interest.

The first area is beginning a conversation. Call it an introduction.

The second is getting the buyer to talk…and listening to what is said. Sometimes that is easy and sometimes it is like breaking rocks. I find making the sale gets easier when the buyer tells me something they didn’t know before our discussion…when as a result of our conversation they have a new understanding of their situation, of what they want.

The third area is knowing when and how to answer the buyer’s questions. We find there are some questions the buyer asks with good intention, which will terminate a transaction if answered incorrectly.

So it is up to the salesperson to recognize the pitfalls and craft the answers to these questions.

The fourth area is the close. However, with all the emotion and misunderstanding traditionally associated with this activity, (Did she buy? No. Ah, you didn’t close) let’s redefine a kinder, gentler close.

How about: “A close occurs when you and the customer agree to do something.”

The purpose of using this sales model is not to manipulate the buyer, but to have a working model of where you are when you are working. It’s a paradigm shift, which I find much closer to reality.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Qualified Leads

I was in a sales meeting last week, and one of the managers started exhorting the marketing liaison about not having enough “qualified leads.” I’ve heard that many times before, but this time I started thinking about “qualified leads” and the role of the salesperson.

People buy on emotion and justify with reasons. The primary benefit of a live sales person is to create the emotion that begins the sale. That doesn’t necessarily create an immediate sale, and I had an “aha” moment last year when I had lunches with two of my previous technical partners.

They both said that most of their current business was coming from people we met when we first started our territories many years ago…and that the current sales people weren’t seeing many new people. They were stretching their account administration duties to fill the month, averaging five to eight external meetings.

I make major sales and aim to have 20 meetings a month. First meetings, second meetings, group meetings, abject apologies, project resets, completion celebrations, I don’t care. They are all an opportunity to open more business.
I once had a marketing person ask, “But are they good meetings?”

I asked her, “Have you ever had to create twenty external meetings a month? I’ll take anything!”

“Good meetings” come from our ability to interest others in what we are doing and the total number of attempts. I don’t expect every prospect meeting to generate immediate business, but I have seen them create multimillion dollar projects, referrals to interested prospects, ideas for how to better explain what I am doing, and acquaintances who forward the sale for me when I’m not there.

Then I had one manager who said, “So you’re not interested in closing.” I was stunned. That’s another meeting, and knowing what people want makes it an easy as well as profitable meeting!

It seems to me that salespeople (and managers) who focus on “closing” have a harder life, since the customer defines the close. By focusing on opening, I spend more time doing things that turn into sales.
BTW, I define “closing” thusly: A close occurs each time the customer asks you to do something.

What do you think?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Value of a Tag Line

I got a LinkedIn invitation and a breakfast with Joe Shumard, a Sales Lab Irregular from 15 years ago. We had lost touch.

At breakfast he said, "I suppose you want to know how I found you again?"

He is now Director of Development at the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce and was in a meeting discussing the value of tag lines. He said, "I remembered yours, 'Explosive Growth, Abundant Cash Flow' as the best one I had heard, so I went to the internet to see if it was copyrighted or anything. Low and behold you were all over the Google page. So I sent you that LinkedIn invitation."

I got that tag ten years previously, when I asked Jim Dixon, President of Bay Area Cellular Telephone what was the best thing I was doing for him. I was stunned by his response and never forgot it.

After seeing Joe, I came home and tried Googling "Explosive Growth, Abundant Cash Flow." Works best with the quotation marks, but it really works.

What are you using for a tag line these days?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Please Welcome

Over the weekend I put up I had planned to build my web presence on this blog, LinkedIn, and a few other specialized public sites.

I had someone get exercised that I was using my gmail email rather than a custom domain. Frankly, I am a rabid GOOG fanbois. It's their engineering and I suspect the future is in open source development and the power of the open source community.

 But I knew about the hotmail prejudice from years past and figured if one person still had it, probably more (and maybe most) did, too.

When I see a domain on an email, I usually check it...and want to see something other than a squatter's placeholder. What should I put?

Over ten years ago I built an AOL-hosted website using notepad, laboriously checking content, spelling, code, and links for what became an extensive series of essays and observations. I remember some unreasonable pride when I learned how to code “curly quotes.” I downloaded all kinds of steadily improving html editors, clip art, and at one point had burning flame letters. I had more enthusiasm than taste. 

This time I started with Google Apps standard edition, so I have capacity for a website, 50 email addresses and 500 aliases at no cost, all sitting on Google servers. The biggest hurdle is understanding the Apps paradigm, and that was minor, just like switching from Wordstar to Wordperfect, to Word, to Writer.

The manual is fantastic. It's the Google box. I would type in Google Apps and whatever I wanted to do, and get back Google help, Squidoo lenses, blog posts, and generally I had my answer within the first three results.

As always, architecture was 75% of the battle. I decided that this site should bind together all my web real estate, and for the first time provide the handouts from presentations over the years. (I have been admiring how Tom Peters posts his slides, and learning how Web 2.0 is about contributing so we can get more done over the web.)
Slideshare was where I placed documents, handouts and slide shows.

Yeah, I do slides when hobbled by webinar technology.

For background information about me, I could never write (heck, I've never seen) anything as good as the recommendations my friends have written on my LinkedIn site. When I started doing LinkedIn, I had no idea how it was going to turn out, but the recommendations on LinkedIn are where the awesome power of crowdsourcing really hit me.

One nagging detail was that I hate the repetitious emails at custom domains, like I think that's silly. Actually, I wonder who has That would be the height of cool! I figured for brochures and collateral I would put “Dick Davies,” And we were off!

What do you think? Sure would appreciate your comments. Thank you!

Ben Huh on Copyright

Ben Huh, CEO of Cheezburger Network (LOLCats, FAILBlog, IMMD, Totally Looks Like, etc) spoke at a Google DC Talk.
Three gems on copyright:
  • The US has been extremely productive at the creation of culture. New culture has a relationship with previous culture. The laws don't reflect that.
When asked how would he like it if someone downloaded one of his websites and printed a book out it?
  • That's not a theoretical question. Someone did and the book hasn't sold well. Our audience supports us, we are all part of a community.
  • If we can't beat a copycat at our own game, we suck.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sales Lab Resumés - Easier, Faster, Better!

Most writing about resumés comes from people experienced in hiring, usually by creating a pool of qualified applicants and selecting the best from that pool. They have an interest in organizing to make their jobs easier. In the course of working with thousands of people changing jobs, we have found some things that don't necessarily help recruiters organize, but do help the people behind the resumés. Use what makes sense to you.

Here are five areas that professional resumé writers use to improve development speed and the results job seekers get from resumés. Figuring out the best way to present these five areas creates your best resumé.

Most amateur resumé writers use only two to three parts of this system. Download Handout

What most people include:

  • Contact Information - Name, address and telephone. Recruiters find that many resumés have bad contact information. Tip-The telephone number on the resumé should call your answering machine.
  • Chronology - Chronology demonstrates you can stick with an assignment.
    A second, minor benefit is showing where you developed your skills.
    The chronology line is: Dates, Title, Organization
    1. Dates - Just use years. Most recent date includes "present" if you write the resumé while you have any connection with your employer (including severance).
    2. Title - Since you can only use one title for each chronology entry (I say so), use the best one.
    3. Organization - I once consolidated three short positions over an18 month period when I discovered the person had stayed to complete one project which was being passed around three different contractors.
    Organize for your advantage.
  • Tickets - Pick the degrees, certificates, memberships and personal information that are most likely to interest your reader. Use these to fill up the little space left at the bottom of the only page of your resumé.

What most people miss.

  • Stories - Spewing facts and capabilities at people makes their eyes glaze. Tell them a story and they will see new applications for your skills. The bad news is that no matter how precise your story, people will not hear what you said. The good news is that they hear what they want to buy. Develop two to three stories that show your best achievements.
  • Positioning - Taking a position at the top of the resumé helps the reader identify where you fit. Paragraphs with words like “challenge,” “diversified” and “energetic” don't get it. I consider three perspectives for developing an effective positioning.
1. Management Function-The four line functions are Research & Development, Production, Marketing and Finance. There are three staff functions, Human Resource Development, Secretarial and Legal (that's Corporate Secretary, not word processing), and External Affairs. In my experience, the best resumés have a functional positioning.

2. Skills and Experience-I once built a resumé for an "Orchestra Conductor." At the same time I also built a functional resumé for him that was positioned for Marketing/Fundraising/Public Relations. The Marketing resumé got him the job as an orchestra conductor.

3. Industry experience-There are industries that require experience specific to that particular industry. Industries where you start at the bottom and gain experience, like computer programmers, wildcatters, soldiers and sailors (staying in their field) can use an industry experience positioning.

Sample Positionings
Each of these went on a real resumé. Sometimes I use 2 lines for extra emphasis. (Second lines italicized)

General Management/Corporate Vision


General Management Executive

Hospitality Management Executive
Assistant to a Senior Executive

Information Systems Management
Marketing/Finance/Computing Strategy

Applied Research-Product/Process Development

Sales/ Marketing Management
Direct Sales/Advertising/Promotion

Strategy Development & Execution...Team Building...Product Development Direct Sales . . . Sales Management

Account Development/Training/Promotion

Sales/Marketing Operations
Direct Sales/Training/Administrative Systems


Computer Operations
Hardware Programs Networks
Macintosh, IBM PC's, DEC, Nova, Micos , IBM 4330, HP 3000 Novell, TOPS, AppleShare, 3Com

A top telemarketer and award winning programmer ...I use telephones and computers to uncover competitive information, feed reseller networks, and close key accounts better than direct sales forces.

Deadline-Proven Writer/Editor Seeks Assignment

Other thoughts
A one-page resumé shows you understand what you are selling. Getting the right material on one page is difficult and requires thought. Experienced buyers appreciate the effort.

More than one page indicates your ego may be more important than your message. Or it may indicate a lack of focus. More than one page risks boring or confusing the reader. Don't make your buyers work any harder than you have to!

Times 12 is the best typeface for resumés because just about every computer can display and print it. Use italic or bold, but sparingly. If you need more space, shrink the side, bottom, and finally the top margins before you reduce the type size. As you get older, your arms get shorter, so small type is harder to read.

I dislike words like “resumé”, “objective” “work history”, and “education,” to identify your “resumé”, “objective” “work history”, and “education.”. If the reader can't tell what it is, write it better!
NOTE - “Objective” is what you think you want. What if they want you for something much better?

Using resumés
The best cover for a resumé is a thumb and forefinger. Your resumé is just a promotional brochure for your job search. You get your best results using it in person.

If you see a great blind employment advertisement that does not name the company, find the three best suspects and go talk to them all. Your chances are better at the two companies that didn't run the ad, because they aren't swamped with 500 resumés they have to read before they can hire someone.

If you really want to send a letter, use an opener that creates interest,
  • include the story from your resumé that the interviewers like best, and
  • ask them to call you.
Then go see 'em.

When you call, don't ask if they got your letter (the only sane response is "no"). Instead tell them you want to meet them, and when they ask why, tell them the story you sent in the letter.

I had one prospect who got my letter ask me if I had been on the Tonight Show. He knew the story, just didn't know why.

Download Handout

We would like to know about your experiences showing what works with resumés. Leave a comment below.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What is Web 2.0...And Why Should You Care?

Interested in a cool handout?
Two and a half years ago, I started giving talks about Web 20. I have spoken about:
Most recently I presented “What is Web 2.0...And Why Should You Care?” to the Capital Technology Management Hub, an offshoot of the George Mason University Technology Management Program. We covered the historical perspective, who was succeeding, innovative ways technology is being used, and what we are seeing about the shape of the future.
For the handout, I wanted a diagram suitable for hanging on the wall, and I am inordinately fond of this one. If you are interested you can get the brochure here.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Web Video In Three Stories

Video is a most compelling tool for communicating on the web. Here are three stories that molded my understanding of video.

First Story
Twenty years ago I bought a video camera and and small playback television to videotape participants in a sales class. The first time we did it, they learned more watching themselves than they had ever learned through feedback. And there was nothing for the teacher to do, since they were getting better instruction, that they liked and understood, and changing their behavior faster without me. That hurt for a minute.

Second Story
Ten years ago we were demonstrating a new GUI interface proposed for the federal payroll system. We had a couple of hours and were sharing the time with another competitor, call it a throwdown. Somehow we were selected to go last, and the other team went way over their time. Finally my host realized there was less than 30 minutes left, and asked if we wanted to reschedule? He said his people would have to leave to get their car pools. Getting this meeting had taken 60 days of schedule twisting and another 60 days would be after vendor selection.

I asked my technical partner, “Can you do a two minute demonstration?”

He said, “I can do a drive by.”

And he did.

And they asked him to do another quick demonstration about something else.

And he did another drive by.

And they asked him to do another quick demonstration about something else.

And he did another drive by.

Everyone in the audience missed their car pool that day. We won the business and ever since I have encouraged my teams to stay with two minute demonstrations, and two minute or less answers.

Third Story
This week, one of my customers invited me to watch their brand new forty minute prerecorded video webinar. I got through the first seven minutes...because they are a customer. By the time my phone rang and I logged off, they were still introducing the cast. Nothing had happened yet.

I remembered that when I was designing my first website a decade ago, I learned about the “tube” theory of organizing your points in one long presentation, and the “chaotic” theory of web design, where you make one point quickly and then give the reader the choice of several links for what they want to see next. That was for paragraphs, but it also works well with videos.

Short videos load faster, are much cheaper to produce, and as a viewer, I appreciate not having to sit through something I don’t want to see before I get to the good stuff.

Watching others, the good stuff is different for everyone. But watching video seems to be more fun that reading for just about everybody.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

End of the Sales Funnel in Three Paragraphs

Kent Hammer of Hammer Consulting featured this three paragraph version in the September issue of The Hammer Letter. Here is the link to the original post of The End Of The Sales Funnel? 

For more than 40 years, the Sales Funnel has been the dominant model to chart how a prospect transforms into a customer. Originally a measure of what information had been released to a prospect by a sales person, the Funnel has been tweaked to predict sales volume, timing, required size of initial prospect class, and closing ratios. It is the Swiss army knife of sales management.

Today citizens have other sources of information about you. They can find your customers and competitors without alerting your organization. They are educated elsewhere.

If the Funnel is ending, you would be getting more off-funnel, bluebird, untracked sales. If you are, are your salespeople present when your prospects are learning about you and making their decisions?

What is your next model?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Focus – The Next Goal For The Web

Twelve years ago Mario Morino said, “The web changes everything.” I have remembered that every time I noticed the web changed something. What does it fully mean?

Three problems which the internet largely solves are time, distance, and addressable audience.

Time, because internet communications are both instantaneous and asynchronous.

Asynchronous means every participant in a communication does not have to be present at the same time. I can read an email or watch a video when I want to, which can improve impact of the message.

Another assault on time is that through hyperlinks we can provide a complete education, as quickly as the user wants it. No longer are we limited by the constraints of other appointments, energy, and availability. I don’t teach, people learn. My job is to make their learning as easy as possible. Hyperlinks allow user-based, custom learning.

Distance is solved because the internet allows us to interact with people anywhere. FedEx has built a business extending the illusion of “close” created by the internet browser.

Addressable audience means that for the first time, we have the technical capability to communicate with almost anyone, more easily than ever before.

Even though these three problems are largely solved, people are still building communication plans making these three problems the foundations of their work. Why? Perhaps they don’t know what comes after solving those problems.

What comes next is earning “focus.”
Just because you can contact everyone, everywhere, immediately, does not mean you are making a difference. To make a difference requires getting your partner’s focus. That is the next challenge of using the internet.

We have to earn the focus of the audience.

From push to pull.

From broadcast to conversation.

This weekend, I saw an advertisement on The Food Network. It was 30 seconds of “How To Make Mango Salsa.” I put my book down and watched attentively…because I was interested. I go to Baja Fresh for their mango salsa. I wanted to see how it was made. At the end I learned that the ad was sponsored by Garnier. I was appreciative of their commercial and resolved to look at Garnier the next time I needed shampoo.

Now I already knew what Garnier made. Sarah Jessica Parker from “Sex in the City” explained that last year. I had a low level cultural awareness, but no focus. Now I had focus.

Earlier this year I worked with a team from a global software company to figure out how they could take advantage of open source. They wanted to define their “open source business model.” They are not an open source software company, and have no plans in that direction, but their customers are interested in open source.

We realized that these customers build applications and utilities that work on our platform. And that these programs might be useful for other customers. And that the people who wrote those programs would be flattered to get some recognition from outside their company for the excellence of their work. Creating more utility for our platform could build customer loyalty, and might be useful for attracting new customers.

We saw the opportunity to create a space on the internet where our customers could share their custom programs.

Featuring our customers, the creators, gives them a place to see themselves featured on the internet, and shows newcomers that we are a tribe of heroes.

Instead of spending our time begging for appointments, negotiating for sales, we can also use the internet to spend time making our customers famous, honoring their achievements, and making everyone we touch feel better about being part of our tribe.

Creating focus is different from hammering the traditional “qualify, present, and close.” That is better done on the internet, at the customer’s pace. Our primary job is increasing their understanding the benefit we offer. Which starts by catching their focus.